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New York City's Sublime Urban Gardens

By Marisa Lascala - 2013-05-13T16:26:46Z

Photograph by Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden

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Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden

Staten Island's Snug Harbor—a site that was once a home for retired sailors—isn't just a garden; it's a cultural complex that includes a contemporary art museum, a children's museum, and one of the oldest music halls in the city. The Botanical Gardens in Snug Harbor are worth the visit alone, though. It's comprised of nine different gardens (plus a few smaller ones), including a working heritage farm, but the showstopper is the New York Chinese Scholar's Garden. Built in 1999 as the first of only two such gardens in the United States, it was modeled after the Suzhou Couple's Retreat Garden. There, you can walk through bamboo fields, watch koi swimming in a pond, see examples of Chinese calligraphy, wander through the eight pavilions, and gaze at Ghongshi scholar's rocks, including a 15-foot-tall formation in the central courtyard.

Visit: The Botanical Garden at Snug Harbor is open from dawn until dusk, and admission is free.

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